Pork and Thai Basil Cellophane Noodles is a light & quick weeknight dish. It’s savory with a little kick from chili paste and aroma from the Thai Basil and cilantro. Great leftover too!
This week, I’m feeling under the weather. But luckily, it was somewhat minor. I can still function and do stuffs around the house. That cough is killing me though. Hope it will be over soon.
Even though I am sick, my appetite is there. I was craving for this noodle dish the other day. Something light, but flavorful. The good thing is that I can toss these noodles together very quickly.
The noodles that I used are cellophane noodles. They are very thin. They can be easily mixed up with vermicelli noodles. Vermicelli noodles are made from rice. Cellophane noodles are made from starch like mung bean, pea, potato and/or sweet potato. Both noodles taste very different in flavors and textures. Unfortunately, cellophane noodles are sometimes also named “vermicelli noodles” in packaging. It’s extremely confusing. The best way to distinguish the two is by looking at the ingredient list on the package. If you see “rice”, the is NOT the right noodles. If you see something with “starch”, you have the correct noodles.
To make this dish, first mix the sauce. Fish sauce, rice vinegar, garlic chili paste, sesame oil and sugar. It’s perfectly balanced with saltiness, acidity, spiciness and sweetness. Next, stir fry the ground pork. Then cook noodles in boiling water and add to the pork. Toss with sauce, fresh Thai Basil and cilantro. It’s finished.
Light, quick, yet savory. It’s the dish for a busy weeknight. Hope you will give this a try! Save the leftover for lunch the next day.
Pork and Thai Basil Cellophane Noodles
- 4 ounces bean sprouts
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces ground pork
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 bundles cellophane noodles (also called Lungkow vermicelli) (about 6 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
- 15 – 17 leaves Thai basil (stacked together, rolled and thinly sliced)
- 3 – 3½ teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add bean sprouts and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- In a small bowl, combine 3 teaspoon fish sauce, rice vinegar, garlic chili paste, sesame oil and sugar. Set aside.
- In a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add crushed red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add ground pork and season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir-fry until the pork just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Turn off the stove and set aside.
- Add the noodles into the boiling water. Turn off the heat. With a pair of chopsticks, quickly stir and separate the noodles. Cover and let the noodles sit for 8 minutes. Drain the noodles and cut them a few times with a pair of scissors.
- Add the noodles to the pork. Pour in the sauce and mix well. Add the bean sprouts. Mix again. Taste and adjust with more fish sauce if needed. Add cilantro and Thai basil. Stir well and transfer to serving plates. Serve immediately.
- Cellophane noodles are made from mung beans, peas or potato starch. They are different than vermicelli, which is made from rice. However, you may see cellophane noodles being called “vermicelli” in packaging. I suggest that you take a look at the ingredient list. If it says “mung bean starch” or some kind of starch, you have the right noodles. If it says “rice”, that is NOT cellophane noodles. Cellophane noodles can be easily found in Asian supermarkets or from Amazon.
- Garlic chili paste is a great condiment. It’s good on dumplings, meats and stir fry dishes. It can be found in Asian supermarkets or from Amazon.
- Thai basil and cilantro are actually what tie this dish together. They are not garnish, so do not skip.
- These noodles make excellent leftover.